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All About Diamond Clarity

June 26, 2018

All About Diamond Clarity

It's time to return to one of our favorite subjects: diamonds! Yup, we never tire of talking about them, and we've covered a lot about them so far including diamond cuts4 C's of diamondsthe other 2 C's of diamonds,  diamond shapediamond color,  oval-cushion-princess-emerald-, and fancy-shaped diamonds and now it's time to talk about...diamond clarity!

Clarity is one of the 4Cs of diamond classification or grading—carat, cut, color, and clarity—and simply refers to the existence and visual appearance of internal characteristics of a diamond called inclusions and surface defects called blemishes. 

Blemishes are usually easier to see than inclusions, and occasionally may be located using the naked eye. Inclusions typically can’t be seen by the naked eyehowever, if a very large inclusion can be seen without a special magnifying lens called a loupe, then the diamond is usually deemed as poor quality.

It's important to understand that most diamonds have these have tiny imperfections known as inclusions, and the less visible the inclusions, the higher the clarity grade. In fact, diamond clarity is often considered the least important of the 4Cs because most of these inclusions are microscopic, so they don’t affect the diamond’s beauty in an overt or obvious way!


Diamonds take a long, long, long time to form, and during this formation period they get flaws and imperfections along the way. Inclusions are solids, liquids, or gases that were trapped in the diamond as it was developing. These may be crystals of foreign matter or even another diamond crystal. The diamond may also have structural imperfections that make it appear whitish or cloudy.

The number, size, color, location, orientation, and visibility of inclusions can all affect the clarity of a diamond. A clarity grade is given based on the overall appearance of the diamond under ten times magnification. Diamonds are classified using a 10x Loupea special magnifying lens used by jewelers to get a close-up look at things that might not be seen with the naked eye.

With inclusions, oftentimes the diamond cutter will try and position the inclusion in such a way that minimizes it , such as positioning it close to the diamond's girdle.  The diamond girdle is the thin perimeter of a diamond that divides the crown above from the pavilion below. Inclusions that are located next to the girdle are harder to see and will have less effect on the brilliance of the diamond.


The clarity of a polished diamond is graded on a scale ranging from Flawless (FL) to Included Grade 3 (I3). Flawless diamonds have no visible inclusions or blemishes. Remember, flawless diamonds are exceedingly rare and very expensive, only around 0.02% of all the diamonds produced are flawless!


The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has 6 categories, some of which are further broken down, which gives a total of 11 specific grades. The diamond clarity grades are as follows:

  • Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
  • Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
  • Included (I1I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance

A couple of things to remember about diamond clarity. Again, a flawless diamond is super expensive and rare. Many inclusions and blemishes are too tiny to be seen by anyone other than a trained diamond expert or jeweler. If you cannot detect flaws or blemishes in a diamond when looking through the crown of it (the portion of the diamond between its girdle and its table), most likely nobody else will either!

We've said this before and we will say it again: the most important thing to remember when picking the perfect diamond and considering the 4 Cs is that "perfect" means different things to different people. Pick with your eyes and your heart, don't break your budget (you'll regret this later!), and go with what you love. You can't go wrong with this! There is the perfect diamond out there for you and we would be thrilled to help you find it

Here are some beautiful diamonds to consider if you are just starting on your hunt for the perfect diamond engagement ring...

Diamond Engagement Rings

Rose Gold Diamond Engagement Ring

Vintage Diamond Engagement Ring

Gold Diamond Engagement Ring

14K White Gold Criss Cross Engagement Ring

14K White Gold Diamond Engagement Ring

We're honored that Mullen Bros. Jewelers ranks #1 in overall customer ratings among all jewelry stores in Southeastern Massachusetts and we will continue to take care of our neighbors and friends, one jewel at a time.

All About Diamond Clarity

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